Dishonest individuals scamming senior citizens out of their money appears to be happening more often than ever before. Seniors are targeted most often by criminals due to the fact that it can sometimes be easier to gain the trust of a senior trust and also due to the fact older, retired people are more likely to have some savings set aside and therefore become a more lucrative target. It can be helpful to keep some of the following tips in mind to help you or your loved ones who are older protected against scams and frauds, especially when shopping or working online.
Todays seniors say that staying in touch with family members and friends remains the main reason that they use the internet. According to recent research by the American Association of Retired Persons, seniors are the segment of the online community that is growing the most quickly. It is estimated that more than 27.5 million senior citizens are using the internet today. These numbers have risen significantly from about 10 years ago, when it was estimated that just over 10 million seniors were online. Increasingly, these seniors are putting their computers to use doing online shopping and banking, and people 55 and older are becoming quite a popular target for internet marketers. Unfortunately, some of those marketers are actually criminals who are using the internet to take money from unsuspecting victims. Because of the fact that the internet is relatively new, these scams continue to grow and develop.
While almost all age groups have their own distinct vulnerabilities and risks when making online transactions, seniors unfortunately seem to be at the greatest risks for internet phishing scams. Many scam artists are tailoring complex schemes specifically targeted to exploit internet users who are older. Many of the online scams will target seniors with nearly unbelievable deals on low-cost insurance and discount prescriptions. Scams will also often target older internet users with documents that seem genuine such as phony ‘bank notices’ and ‘final warnings’.
Just like in the ‘real world’, you should take care when revealing your date of birth, social security number or credit card information over the internet. Search for web addresses on one of the major search engines instead of clicking links that you receive in e-mails. Then, use that address to contact the company and inquire about the message you received. Once you have verified that you are on a legitimate website, you can save that address in your broswer as a ‘favorite’. You will then be able to return there again safely in the future.